Mumbai: In a significant verdict, the Bombay High Court on Friday ruled that possession of beef slaughtered outside Maharashtra would not be a criminal offence but it upheld the government's decision to ban the slaughter of bullocks in the state. The ruling by a division bench comprising Justice A.S. Oka and Justice S.C. Gupte came on a bunch of petitions challenging the provisions in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act which stipulated penal action even for possession of beef brought from outside the state. Accordingly, while slaughter of bullocks would not be permitted, the court has permitted the import and consumption of beef from other states to Maharashtra. The President had granted assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, which prohibited slaughter of bulls and bullocks as well as possession and consumption of their meat in the state. The Act stipulated a five-year jail term and Rs.10,000 fine for slaughter of bulls or bullocks and one-year imprisonment and Rs.2,000 fine for possession of its meat.